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A Body in Station Program Note | Eiko + Koma
A Body in Station Program Note
photo by Anna Lee Campbell

A Body in Station Program Note

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts presents

A Body in a Station
Conceived and performed by Eiko
Collaborators: Harry Philbrick (curator), William Johnston (photographer), Ralph Samuelson(musician), Mark McCloughan (dramaturg), Ben Grinberg (videographer),  Megumu Tagami (visual adviser)

Amtrak 30th Street Station, Philadelphia

Friday, October 3 from noon to 3pm
Friday, October 10 from 3pm to 6pm
Friday, October 17 from 6pm to 9pm
Friday, October 24 from 9pm to midnight

Ralph Samuelson plays shakuhachi (Japanese flute) live during Oct 3, 10, and 17 performances.

A Body in a Station Is a series of durational solo performance that explores how a private body intersects with a public place and how both a performer and a viewer experience seeing and being seen.

A Body in a Station is the first live incarnation of A Body in Places, the omnibus title of Eiko’s first solo project. As such, A Body in a Station is the  first work Eiko conceived, has directed, and performs alone.

Please visit Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) to view A Body in Fukushima, a collaborative photo exhibition by William Johnston of Eiko in ruined stations of Fukushima, Japan. The exhibition opens Friday, October 3 and remains on view through April 5, 2015 in the Maguire Gallery, Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building, 128 North Broad Street, Philadelphia. Free with museum admission.

People in the station are going somewhere or waiting to go somewhere. Many are alone. Performing also alone, I want to breathe the vast space of the station and the movement within it. I want to exchange a gaze with every viewer and dance for those who come to see me as well as those who are indifferent. Perhaps I will be a nuisance, unwanted by many of the people who happen to be in the station. However, I want to embody odd beauty, the sense of nakedness and feebleness of a human and the solitude of an artist.    --- Eiko

Born and raised in Japan, Eiko Otake is a New York-based movement artist who for the last 40 years has worked as Eiko & Koma. Always performing their own choreography, Eiko have collaborated with Koma  in creating all aspects of their works including sets, costumes, sound, and movements. They have performed in theaters, museums, galleries, outdoor sites, and festivals worldwide, including the American Dance Festival, BAM’s Next Wave Festival, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Museum of Modern Art

From 2009 to 2012 Eiko & Koma produced and toured a multi-faceted Retrospective Project that included creating new performance works, installations, museum exhibitions, and media works; restaging old works; presenting film showings, panels and lectures. As a part of the Retrospective Project, Walker Art Center published a comprehensive monograph of their works, Eiko & Koma: Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty. Both the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts presented their career exhibition.

Eiko & Koma have been honored with two “Bessies,” a double Guggenheim fellowship (1984), and the first United States Artists Fellowship (2006). They are the first collaborative pair to share a MacArthur Fellowship (1996) and the first Asian choreographers to receive the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award (2004) as well as the Dance Magazine Award (2006). Eiko is 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist fellow. 

William Johnston is a photographer and professor of Japanese History at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.  Currently he is Edwin O. Reischauer Visiting Professor in History at Harvard University.

Born in Rawlins, Wyoming, William received his PhD in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard. His research has focused on the intersection of public health, cultural values, and economic and political forces. He is the author of The Modern Epidemic: A History of Tuberculosis in Japan and Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star: A Woman, Sex, and Morality in Modern Japan, as well as numerous articles on the history of disease and medicine in Japan.

As a photographer William works with digital color, 35 mm B & W large-format cameras as well as platinum prints. He studied photography with J. Seeley, Ralph Gibson, platinum printing with George Tice, Robert Hennessey, Sal Lopes. He has produced several bodies of photographic work including images of the city of Nagoya, Japan; of flowers placed on books (“The Clothespin Series”); of Middletown, Connecticut street scenes; and of Wyoming landscapes.

His collaboration with Eiko started in January, 2014. In addition to the current photo exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts,, selected photographs of Eiko taken in Fukushima will be also shown at the Galleries of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Ralph Samuelson is a performer and teacher of the Japanese bamboo flute, shakuhachi. He was trained in the classical tradition of the Kinko School of shakuhachi by the late Living National Treasure Goro Yamaguchi, as well as by Shudo Yamato and Kodo Araki V, and he has performed both traditional and contemporary music throughout the US, Asia, and Europe. He has recorded for CBS Masterworks, Lyrichord, Tzadik, XI Records, and other labels. He was the shakuhachi soloist in the New York City Ballet production of Jerome Robbins’ "Watermill" with music by Teiji Ito, and his "Flutes of Hope” ensemble commemorating the victims of the earthquake/tsunami in Japan was presented at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York in 2012 and 2014, and at Carnegie Hall in 2013.  He is a visiting lecturer/artist and international advisor for the Seoul Institute of the Arts in Korea and is senior advisor and former director of the Asian Cultural Council in New York.

Mark McCloughan is a performer, writer, and musician based in Philadelphia. As a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of No Face Performance Group he has performed in all of the company’s original works. He has performed with other artists and companies around Philadelphia, including Pig Iron Theatre Company, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, New Paradise Laboratories, Gabrielle Revlock, Spencer Sheridan/Public Trust, and Jenna Horton.

Ben Grinberg is a Philadelphia-based physical theater maker and video editor. A graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training and the University of Pennsylvania, he has performed and directed with Pig Iron Theatre Company, the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, Brat Productions, Shakespeare in Clark Park, and many others. His original acrobatic dance score communitas has been presented by Circus Now! and with Mascher Space Co-Op, where he is a resident artist. As a video editor and videographer Ben has worked on projects for HBO, One.org, and Location One gallery in New York, as well as for Pig Iron Theatre Company, Wangechi Mutu, Strange Attractor, and countless theatre and dance companies and artists in the Philadelphia area.

This project was created in part with the invaluable support from The University of the Arts where Eiko is in residency and teaches a course Private Body /Public Places.

Eiko’s activities in Philadelphia are supported by a Challenge Grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org

A Body in Places, which includes the associated photo exhibition and this series of station performances. is made possible with supports from the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project (with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Eiko expresses her sincere thanks to AMTRAK; PAFA, Donna Faye Burchfield and her colleagues at the University of Arts; Sam Miller and his colleagues at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Lois Welk and her colleagues at Dance USA Philadelphia.  Special thanks to Marj Rosenblum for her hospitality and David Brick and Koma for their advises and supports.

Eiko is deeply grateful to her team for their contribution: presenter and curator Harry Philbrick, curatorial advisor Sam Miller, shakuhachi player Ralph Samuelson, videographer Ben Grinberg, dramaturg/rehearsal director Mark McCloughan, visual advisor, Megumu Tagami, archivist Patsy Gay,  and manager Ivan Sygoda.

A Body in Places is a project of Inta, Inc., Eiko’s not-for-profit foundation. Contributions in furtherance of its work and inquiries about its activities may be directed to: Ivan Sygoda, President, Inta, Inc., c/o Pentacle, 75 Broad Street, Suite 304, New York, NY 10004. Tel. 212.278.8111 ext. 3421. Email ivansygoda@gmail.com. Visit our web site: www.eikoandkoma.org